If you’re a fan of McDonald’s Japan, you might be sad to learn that your favorite item may be the staff’s worst nightmare.
Much like in many countries, McDonald’s in Japan is frequently a young person’s entry into the workforce, teaching valuable skills in handling money and customer service. We interviewed one such former employee who spent five years on the McCrew, who we’ll call Ms. Y, and asked what orders she hated to take the most.
“Free Smile” was not included…too easy.
Soft Serve Ice Cream
*not an actual McDonald’s ice cream cone
Given the beautifully obvious-and-yet-ambiguous name of “Soft Cream” on the Japanese menu, this treat is served in a cone out of a dispenser that takes a certain finesse and wrist action to get just right. It’s not the hardest thing in the world but it’s easy to see how some people struggle with it, including Ms. Y.
“I don’t know about now. But when I worked there the person at the register had to put the ice cream in the cone. I had a hard time handling this stuff that wasn’t quite solid and not quite liquid either.”
This really is a shame, as the Teriyaki McBurger is arguably the greatest regular offering of McDonald’s Japan. For those who aren’t familiar, it is a hamburger slathered with lots of teriyaki sauce, topped with some mayo, and lettuce. It’s a simple burger, but extremely tasty, and yet it’s extremely surprising that it’s also such a horror for the staff to make.
“I remember, at the time, everyone said ‘making a teriyaki burger sucks.’ The teriyaki sauce is slippery and causes all the components of the burger to shift around. Because the sauce gets on the buns it sticks to the wrapping paper. You had to be very careful when making it.
So in the kitchen, whenever there was a mass order of teriyaki burgers it became hell. You might think that the Big Mac is tough, but it’s actually way easier than the teriyaki burger.”
As Ms. Y pointed out, making a Teriyaki McBurger is a sloppy mess considering how doused it is with teriyaki sauce. So, what if on top of that we add a greasy fired egg?
“The clear worst was the Teritama burger. It’s a limited-time item, but about once a year the Teritama is unleashed on the staff. Everyone became a nervous wreck. The teriyaki sauce was slippery and combined with the slipperiness of the fried egg it was a nightmare. It felt like playing speed Jenga.
For the customer, I wanted to make it as nice looking as possible. But it was so slippery and so easy to break. Even now when I hear the Teritama is coming out, I think, ‘Hang in there McCrew.'”
So it’s clear. The ultimate enemy of the Japanese McCrew is teriyaki sauce. It’s also worthwhile to notice a revealing thing Ms. Y mentioned. All the time her nervousness and hatred of teriyaki burgers was rooted in her desire to do a good job and please the customer.
I have often gotten a Teriyaki McBurger only to find that the top bun was askew and sauce was leaking out onto the wrapper. At the time, I had always chalked it up to sloppy preparation, never once knowing that the cook probably meant well, but was just overwhelmed by all that teriyaki sauce.
So take note that if you are particularly fond of the staff at your local McDonald’s and want to make their lives easier, steering clear of teriyaki-themed items is probably a safe bet. However, if you’re holding a certain grudge against a McDonald’s employee, Ms. Y has some parting advice for a special order.
“When I worked there, I prayed that they would never decide to sell a Teriyaki Big Mac or Giga Teriyaki Burger.”
Original article by P.K. Sanjun
[ Read in Japanese ]